By Ward Hegock, March 2008
For the Liberty Sentinel
It is strange the way the winds of politics sweep some off their feet, and others to great heights. Barack Obama is a powerful speaker, and certainly the media darling of this campaign.
He has the support of Hollywood insiders like David Geffen and George Clooney, and has won political support from such seemingly diverse corners of the ideological spectrum as the Edward Kennedy and Matthew Dowd, Bush’s chief campaign strategist in 2004.
Obama is selling himself as the “change” candidate, but what do we really know about him? Actor Ben Affleck said that he supported Obama, but wasn’t quite sure where he stood on the issues. Shouldn’t we all know what kind of “change” a presidential candidate stands for before we let him lead the nation?
Obama is an attractive candidate and America is crying out for something different. Senator Obama certainly looks different. “Obama” certainly sounds different. He’s not a “Clinton” or a “Bush”, which is certainly a relief for some. But is he really different? If he is so different, why then do the powers of the status quo seem so pleased with a man that we really know so little about?
In this short column I’ve tried to peel back the veil on the Senator’s rise to power. Frankly, I’m not very impressed.
Obama is being sold as an anti-war candidate. Calling for an immediate end to the War in Iraq may be popular, but peace activists may be sorely disappointed with the plans President Obama has for the American military.
He’s not calling for an end to military adventurism; he is just calling for an end to this particular war at this particular time. In his own words he called for “a phased withdrawal of American forces with the goal of removing all combat brigades from Iraq by March 31st, 2008”. While he has since pushed back his target date for withdrawal until 16 months after he enters office, he has not changed his plan and says he intends to “leave behind residual force.”
He goes further to say “This administration’s first Secretary of Defense proudly acknowledged that he had inherited the greatest fighting force in the nation’s history. Six years later, he handed over a force that has been stretched to the breaking point, understaffed, and struggling to repair its equipment. Two-thirds of the Army is now rated “not ready” for combat. 88% of the National Guard is not ready to deploy overseas, and many units cannot respond to a domestic emergency. Our men and women in uniform are performing heroically around the world in some of the most difficult conditions imaginable. But the war in Afghanistan and the ill-advised invasion of Iraq have clearly demonstrated the consequences of underestimating the number of troops required to fight two wars and defend our homeland. That’s why I strongly support the expansion of our ground forces by adding 65,000 soldiers to the Army and 27,000 Marines.”
Senator Obama is still leaving open the option of future use of preemptive force, saying “No President should ever hesitate to use force – unilaterally if necessary – to protect ourselves and our vital interests when we are attacked or imminently threatened. But when we use force in situations other than self-defense, we should make every effort to garner the clear support and participation of others.”
Talk like that might send peace activists running to Ralph Nader or Dennis Kucinich, but lest this hawkish stance provide comfort to conservatives – look to Senator Obama’s latest contribution to the senate agenda, the “Global Poverty Act” (S.2433). This legislation would commit the U.S. to spending 0.7 percent of gross national product on foreign aid. This amounts to (about) 91 billion dollars a year, all to fund the United Nations’ “Millennium Development Goals”. Once in the hands of U.N. bureaucrats, the U.S. would have little control over how the money was spent, thereby bringing “taxation without representation” into the now.
These are just two issues that should give potential supporters of Barack Obama pause, whether they identify with the left or the right. For those on the left, Obama offers a tepid commitment to peace, and no clear commitment to restoring our eroded civil liberties or repealing The Patriot Act. For those on the right, Senator Obama has no plan to peel back the layers of regulation that is choking our health care system, no plan to secure our boarders, and no plan to stop the explosion of illegal aliens.
For all Americans, Senator Obama has no plan to stabilize the falling dollar, no plan to fully fund Social Security, no plan to achieve energy independence, and no plan to stop the destruction of the middle class at the hands of transnational globalist entities like the UN, NAFTA, The WTO, and the coming North American Union.
It’s great that Senator Obama looks different from the other candidates, but it is more important that he be different; glossy oratories wrapped around more of the same just won’t cut it.